A friend of mine coined a hashtag that makes me laugh. #ILiketoTravelBut.
I like to travel but…I hate sitting in coach.
I like to travel but…I don’t like losing money to the exchange.
That kind of stuff. But lately, I’ve been thinking more and more about travel’s place in the soul, or at least my soul. About why they call it wanderlust.
I like to travel but…I hate pulling out of the driveway.
Leaving home always strikes me with the deepest sense of regret. Even if I know I’m coming back. I know I’ll have an amazing adventure as soon as I get over it, but it always catches in my chest, just for a moment.
I like to travel but…it could kill me.
For me, wanderlust feels a lot like regular lust. A pit of yearning in the bottom of my stomach for what I don’t have. I lust for a suitcase-sized life and unfamiliar terrain. When I’m not here at home with my helpless 14-month-old and my husband who sometimes asks questions he knows the answers to, I can be the version of myself that I will never be again in San Antonio, Texas, in our little house on the Eastside.
Detached. Carefree. Not responsible.
The same guy who coined the funny hashtag said something deeper too. Travel, if we aren’t careful, can rupture the conduit between who we are and who we want to be.
Travel can be addictive, and before long that person who I can only be when I travel, is the only person I want to be. I begin to find my true self in a state of transition and impermanence. I become a shark; if I stop swimming, I’ll die. And then I can’t find myself when I come home to stillness.
At the same time, I know I’ll never stop traveling.
Travel allows me to be wow’d. To look at the earth with my mouth agape and cherish the unfamiliar. Travel takes me to new places where my world expands and my politics blow wide open. I really LIKE to travel. I love it.
But that traveler, the wonder-seeker, the open arms, the wide eyes? She lives here in San Antonio too. She’s in awe of her growing child, challenged by her diverse neighbors, voraciously consuming books, art, and the love of a very good man. A very good man who is her travel companion and her best friend on the ordinary Wednesdays.
If I allow home, with its attachments and compromises, to become the roadblock to my true self, then I will lose the ability to be joyful. For me, the ability to be joyful, in a deep and abiding sense, is forged in daily life. It is etched in the faces of the relationships I’ve fought for. It is hanging on the walls of the home we’ve made. It is salty trails drying on my face after deep disappointment and loss. It is effort, it is grit, and it is generosity.
And as obvious and trite as it may sound, it is also easy to forget: who I am and who I want to be find their origin and their destination in love. That is home. To be known, accepted and loved, wherever I am. Loved by Jesus. Loved by those he has given me. My destination, who I want to be, is learning to love them all back, and love them well.
I like travel but…I love to come home.